opinion

The Big Fix

How to Save Pro Surfing (A Fan’s Perspective)


Good waves and big performances aren't enough to keep fans engaged argues Steve Nug. Photo: Childs Good waves and big performances aren't enough to keep fans engaged argues Steve Nug. Photo: Childs
| posted on May 05, 2013

If surfing is so beautiful why is contest surfing so ugly? That’s the question I ask virtually every time I watch an ASP event online.

Have you ever watched an ASP event online for more than 30 minutes at a time? If you have and don’t work directly for or in the surf industry, I’m surprised you haven’t killed yourself yet. It’s basically state-sponsored torture. Where the hell do you think the term waterboarding came from? Don’t believe me? A quick Google search for “ASP waterboarding” returned 2,860,000 results. You can’t argue with evidence like that.

As the Association of Surfing Professionals transitions from a sanctioning body essentially owned by the brands and sponsors to a more “independent” tour promised by new owners ZoSea, massive changes need to be made if they want to attract new fans and keep the ones they currently have.

Attracting New Fans

That’s the goal, right? That’s how ZoSea seemingly convinced the ASP stakeholders to hand them carte blanche ownership with no business plan in place. Surfing is a unique sport in the fact it’s virtually impossible to attract viewers who don’t surf. Some have argued that most of the people who watch the NFL, the NBA or Major League Baseball probably don’t play the aforementioned sports they’re watching. But surfing is more insular in nature and frankly it hasn’t been broadcasted in a way to make die-hard surfers watch regularly, much less people who have no vested interest in surfing. Have you ever tried watching a surf contest, or even a surf video, with someone who doesn’t surf? Might as well give them a handful of valiums and a two-liter bottle of that purple shit ’Lil Wayne drinks. Because they will doze off faster than you can say Bede Durbidge.

Commentary
When it comes to watching ASP events, the mute button may be the greatest invention ever bestowed on mankind. More often than not the announcers spew an outlandish blend of hyperbole and good old-fashioned ass kissing. Every event is better than the last. Everything is “historic.” Every surfer more than 25 years old is a “legend.” Hell, if the announcers were to describe this piece of writing on air like they do and average third round World Tour heat, I’d probably be nominated for a Pulitzer and be compared to Shakespeare and George Carlin.

How do they fix this? They can start by hiring announcers who have the right amount of surfing knowledge and broadcasting professionalism to know when to speak, and more importantly, when to stay silent. Train them. Put them in a room and have them watch Vin Scully or Chick Hearn tapes for chrissakes. Do something. Force their eyelids open with toothpicks like that scene in “A Clockwork Orange” if you have to. Think outside the surf industry bubble for a change. Because the current structure of pointing a few cameras at the ocean and having barely-literate, mono-syllabic team managers and former pros calling play-by-play just isn’t working. The sad reality of all this is the best announcer, by far, is Kelly Slater. And his bald head can only sport so many hats at once.

Three-Man Heats 

The three-man heat is a lot like a menage a trois. They usually sound like a better idea than they actually are, and the results can be disastrous. What’s the point of a three-man heat? There are no real winners or losers. The only people losing as far as I can tell are the people watching. This isn’t AYSO Soccer or Little League Baseball. Pro surfing shouldn’t give so many second chances. We want winners AND Losers. We want struggle and triumph. We want blood in the water. We want drama. Actually, a decent argument can be made to keep the current first-round set up intact, but the no loser round after round three needs to be abolished. Yesterday. It’s a waste of time, money, and it kills the momentum of the event.

Presentation is Everything
The cost to run an average World Tour event is about 3 million dollars. And the webcast is a healthy chunk of that cost. They need to spend that money more wisely. Why not open things up? Why not let the directors of the surf videos we love so much take the reins? Let Kai Neville direct it. Or Taylor Steele. Heck, bet you’d have massive success if you gave the keys to Dane Reynolds and his filmer Mini Blanchard for an entire event.

The best surfing in the world deserves great production from the ASP webcast team. The best surfers deserve producers and cameramen who realize that live surfing is always better than the post heat interview. How about recording the post-heat interview and airing it when no one is up and riding a wave? There is probably less than two minutes of wave riding in an average 30-minute heat. Is it too much to ask to get all those waves live?

Every kid on my block has a GoPro camera attached to his board but the ASP hasn’t been able to do this in a contest yet? Utilize microphones and sound technology too. If Adriano de Souza is claiming a ride loudly or berating the judges for this last score I want to hear it. Mic the surfers up. Let’s hear the roars of the ocean and the sly, passive aggressive comments Mr. Slater says to psych out his opponents.

Maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. The most pressing issue is the live stream. More specifically, how often it goes down. How do you get the masses to hop on board when they can’t consistently and reliably watch an event in the first place? For every second the feed is down you lose viewers and more importantly your credibility.

  • imdumb

    I like your approach: CHANGE EVERYTHING, because you have strong opinions that sound interesting to casual donkeys and the editors of Surfer. I think the ASP should take it a step further and introduce synchronized swimming to the events. After every wave, their wave score is multiplied by their dance moves with their opponents. Afterwards, the winner of each heat should be required to model the latest roxy female swimwear in order to progress to the next round. That way, the viewer base is expanded and the new revenue from roxy will cover the broadcasting expenses. These ideas should be good enough to get my own section of the Surfer homepage.

  • john black

    Pretty much disagree with all of that. except maybe 3 man heats.

  • Cobber

    What a load of crap … So farcical I don’t know where to start … How did Surfer print this? Is there anything worse than opinionated knob who pretends to speak for everybody? F&$k off back to hipster , wank land

  • just another surfer

    C’mon u kiddin’? world tour never has been so entertaining… can’t watch it for more than 30 minutes? the level of surfing nowadays is amazing!! Maybe you should keep watching’ tennis instead.
    I do not work on the industry, been surfing for 30 years, travelled the world.
    I thought it was a fake article… piece of crap!!! not interesting or serious enough for Surfermag

  • Simpson

    Go Pro’s and Microphones during in event? Why don’t we stick helmet cams and radio microphones on premier league footballers and see how that goes down? What next? a go pro stuck to a baseball bat or microphones on LeBrons latest shoes?

    I agree a lot need’s changing, but cheap gimmicks like sticking go pro’s every where and having to apologise every 5 minutes for some competitors bad language after his double fist pump claim for a floater didn’t get the 9.9 he thought he deserved. It needs solid long lasting changes to make the webcasts, commentary and the event as a whole better for spectators and competitors.

    Try stopping running these events as giant adverts, get consistent judging in place to make results clearer, employ commentators to work on the whole tour who care about the sport, rather than that brands flavor of the month personality.

    Take the ego’s out of it, let the events be run by surfers for surfers, let the ASP be more transparent and open allowing for better judging and planning of events that will allow the best surfers on the planet to showcase there talent. Sponsors will still want to be involved as they need these surfers and events to market their products and will still help generate the prize money needed.

    All parties concerned need to take a step back and look at this in fighting which is taking place before its too late, all the best surfers will jog on and do their own thing and up coming talent will have no legitimate place to show case their talent.

    Just my opinion anyway.

  • Eric

    While I agree with a few points, the overall premise of the above blog piece is a bit off base, and is exactly why the Surf Industry is tanking. It is an entity that is always trying to overachieve, and operate on a bigger scale than is ever possible for its coastal roots, destined to ultimately fail in a numbers game.

    In a constant attempt to grow, reach more viewers, and expand, surfing needs to realize what it is, and stop ever trying to think on a par with the NFL, or even X-Games. Most people who do not ski, will fall asleep watching skiing, save in the Olympics, and most non surfers will only be entertained by a surf contest for a short span, unless its last years Fiji comp. Web numbers are very good, and trying to push those higher needs to be carefully done.

    The lack of a central entity marketing the webcasts has been comical, and frustrating for users to be sure, and it would seem that is being addressed by the new umbrella of ZoSea. Although the lack of a business plan is disturbing, it is common sense that this was a needed step. How it plays out will be determined in the product, but will ultimately turn off hard core fans if they pander too hard to the fringe viewer with a circus side show of web items.

    The commentary overall is awful, and there is a strong need for some permanent and professional voices, mixed in with guest hosts for color. The commentary is the one item that turns away non-surfers form the webcasts. All one needs to do is look at message boards for each event, and the topic is always focused on how much the majority of the announcers suck. It is hilarious, but valid.

    The 3 man heat is the only way to run a first round, and when they experimented with 2 man loser heats it was awful. The whole point of shrinking the Tour was to have more chances to watch your favorite surfer perform, and the round 4 non-elimination round has been a huge success, and does not dilute the event in the least. The idea is to have more chances to see great surfing.

    Surfing needs to realize what it is, and get away from trying to be a ‘major sport’. Companies like Billabong and Quicksilver tank due to unrealistic expectations, and marketing plans bigger than they can achieve, and this should be an indicator of the equilibrium of surfing as a sport. Ways to improve the webcasts are a must, but pandering to the casual fan, or trying to turns contests into surf flicks should have red flags waving.

  • Steve Wimer

    This guy is a little harsh on Pro Surfing. Sure, the commentary is verbal corn syrup. And there idea of funny usually isn’t. But the color commentators do an acceptable job. Although true surfing enthusiasts like Buttons or Timmy Cravalho, only the more modern examples, would be welcome. I think the general public would enjoy the pidgin expressions. The heats without losers should go. There should be more suspense. But you can’t reasonably expect competitors to have GoPro on their boards, unless they all have it. That might work at some spots, but not all of them. The primary problem with Pro Surfing contests continues to be junk surf in my opinion. When the waves are there the stoke level goes way up.

  • js

    definitely agree the ass-kissing needs to go. i remember shaun thompson and ian cairns being very critical of guys when commentating back in the day, when appropriate, and without being dicks. now it seems EVERY turn and or lip tap is applauded regardless of bad timing or weakness. stop the coddling!

    maybe give a year-long wildcard to 1 or 2 former world champs/ legends or someone deserving/wanting it? let the fans and surfers on tour vote on it. lots of ‘retired’ pros still rip hard enough to smoke most of these guys on tour now. could you imagine curren or garcia at bells?! carroll or occy at pipe or chopes!

    adding one big wave event (on call) would round it all out nicely.

    ps. why no indo events? no mex? Japan? shit, the worlds a big place. get creative asp. build it and they will come…

  • Viktor

    Hmmm. Let me see.

    The average number of webcast viewers for the first 2 WCT contests of this year was around 18,000 people. The top demographic for those 18k people was white males ages 40 and up. The ASP has been shopping for any big umbrella sponsor for years and the only thing they could come up with is throwing together a couple of old Quiksilver team Kelly Slater guys to form a company called Zosea that still hasn’t come up with anything worth promoting over the surf media. The best surfer in the world, according to Kelly Slater, has never won a single contest. The biggest news about competitive surfing from last year is about the day they didn’t even hold the comp at Fiji. The biggest news about comp surfing from the year before was the day they didn’t hold the comp at Tahiti. The biggest news about surfing period, year after year, to mainstream, non-surfing fans, has nothing to do with comp surfing and everything to do with Laird, GMac, Millennium Waves, etc…

    But yeah, we shouldn’t change everything.

    Just a few tweaks should work just fine.

    All we need to do is ask Michael Tomson what to do.

  • ed

    first off, surfing will NEVER appeal to the masses. Don’t believe me, just take a look at soccer in the USA.
    Surfing is big in Oz because the majority of the population live at the coast. Anywhere else, it will always be second or third tier.
    Kelly Slater wins a world title, not even a mention on national news, much less local news anywhere but maybe Cocoa.
    Yeah, its cool and hip, but nobody outside of surfing cares about the competition of it. Not now, not ever. Doesn’t matter how you package it, it won’t sell. As soon as some Hollywood cool dude makes bun hugger swim suits hip, all the surf companies will go under anyway…or we will all start wearing quik speedos.

  • andre

    the article is not great but does have some very valid points. the commentary on most broadcasts is horrible at best. As for the three man heats I agree lets get rid of them. Gopro angles are 99.9% crap and we need less of some dudes ugly mug, more water cam if anything. The other thing I can agree on is that Kelly if king. GO KELLY!!

  • http://singlikebuildings.com/ wolf larsen

    to reach other audiences, event media should prepare highlight reels for distribution to bigger sport outlets like espn. this already happens for a couple events. us open of surfing i think? they can edit them to appeal to this broader audience, and the surf community can enjoy watching it in the format we like live. surfing doesn’t need gimmicks to attract audiences, just good waves and good surfing.

    agreed, having professional commentary would be amazing rather than the sponsor nepotism. just cuz you are a figurehead for the sponsor or even a ‘surf legend’ doesn’t make you a good commentary person. hearing great critical commentary is what i always search for, because not only can i enjoy the event as a spectator, but i can also take notes to improve my surfing.

  • Justin

    BEST. ARTICLE. EVER.

    I don’t know about the GOPROS, but everything else this guy said was spot on. The ASP SUCKS, Pro Surfing is a JOKE and the Surf Industry, and for the most part surfers in general, are a bunch of EGO’D out shaft guzzlers.

  • Danny

    Sorry, but I got to say, that was A LOT of BS! Nothing new and completely nonsense
    First of all, I do watch and love to watch. You can hate it but you can’t assume everyone does,

    Your ideas to make it better don’t relate to your complain…give Taylor Steele or K.Neville to direct a broadcast would make much better!? What you talking about? How in the world they would make a much better job covering a 12 hour surfing contest!?! Broadcast is a totally different beast and this guys wound’t make much, if any, difference.

    Yes the interviews can be recorded and broadcast later when no one is riding a wave. Yes the commentators are pretty lame a lot of times and yes a Go Pro would be awesome to make things more dynamic (Btw, Sunny and others did it last year on Sunset) but this wouldn’t change what means to watch a Surf Contest.

    Bottom line, it can get better but if you think it can change in a way that non surfers would start watching it you are tripping . It is a Surf contest not NBA or soccer.

  • Danny

    I wrote a lot of stuff but this dude really summarized: “I like your approach: CHANGE EVERYTHING, because you have strong opinions that sound interesting to casual donkeys and the editors of Surfer.”

    Superficial, sensationalistic, filled with cliché, and worse, completely nonsense.

    Just impressive for hipsters and wanna bees who doesn’t read much more than Surf websites.

  • Kenny

    I am the Majority Minority. I am white and over 40 and I like the way the contests are now. If I have the day off or the contest is in a different time zone and I can watch it at night, I watch it, all 12 hours of it. I love heats on demand and utilize it when I have an obligation to work, wifey, or the kids. Stansfield and Turpel are pro’s and color guys like Mel, Occy, and the rest are just fine. They just need to find a way to get guys like Dane and the other freesurf phenoms stoked on surfing contests and always hold them in the best spots (sorry Brazil). The ASP needs to reinstate the “Search” theme with or without Rip Curl and Capitalize on the amazing waves this world has to offer.

  • Marcelo

    Not sure about the gopros, but the rest is all spot on, mate.
    This is perfect:
    “The best surfers deserve producers and cameramen who realize that live surfing is always better than the post heat interview.”

  • Pete

    I’m one of the guys who really likes the contests, especially the last 2 years. Great camera work, they’re talking more about the boards and designs… just the overall professionalism is getting better and better, and of course, the surfing is simply incredible. There’s one or two commentators that are kinda boring, but for the most part they do a good job. I like the no-loser rounds, and think some of the riskiest surfing goes down during them.
    The first 2 contests this year have had amazing final rounds. High drama, incredible waves, open emotion, hometown pride, and close calls that could have gone either way. My friends and I were all watching online, yelling and hooting. Good stuff.
    If there was anything I would like to see tweaked, it would be to allow us to see the judges scores coming in. It’s always awesome to see those last scores come in, when everything is weighing on that moment.
    Just my 2 cents…hope they keeping getting better, but I’m really enjoying the current state of affairs.

  • Dirk

    Separating the ASP from surfing’s sponsors is a great idea. It’ll probably make judging more fair and diminish “sponsor court” advantage. But this is not the main subject being discussed here.

    I think it is wrong to assume that people want or need surfing to become a mass audience sport. Seeing what focusing on the masses has done to other sports like Formula 1, and what it has done to fans in sports like basketball or American football where commercials interrupt the action and stretch games to unbearable lengths, I’d prefer contest surfing broadcasting to remain as it is (with some improvements welcome of course).

    Just being able to watch events live all year long is fantastic for surfing fans (not that the stability and quality of streaming can’t be improved), when just some years ago we had to be content to catch a glimpse of a surfing contest in some specialized cable channel or 2 minute recap in the mainstream media. The 3 man heat may be seen as a waste of time for people who only see sports as a win or lose proposition. Me, I want to watch people surf and if the 3 man heat lets them relax a bit, try more risky moves or just surf more freely, then welcome. Surfing has never been, and I hope it never becomes, a cutthroat competition (there are enough sports and activities like that nowadays).

    Having said that, there are things that can be improved. People here have already mentioned some: “on board” cameras, not interrupting live waveriding, less ass-licking of the usual suspects, etc. And no, I don’t want to hear what the competitors are saying; I watch surfing contests for the surfing and wouldn’t want them to become another reality show.

    To sum up, surfing contest broadcasting has room to improve, but that doesn’t mean that the sport should succumb to pressure (imagined or real) to turn it into a mass-audience spectacle.

  • http://Surfermag.com David Nelson

    I agree with Pete: if we could see the scores coming in that would be cool. No more missed waves. Best commentators were Ross Williams and Shane Dorian because they were actually honest about the guys bogging in Hawaii and were kind of making fun of guys – it was classic and everyone I knew watching was feeling the same way. Jake the Snake was like this too at Margaret River and it was funny and real…no ass kissing!

  • David

    I watch almost all the webcasts, If Im working, there is a extra screen or browser window that keeps running all day. Ya the commentary is amateurish, the post heat interviews mostly worthless, but my single biggest gripe is with format. They need to run these contests like golf tourneys. We are dealing with nature and changing conditions, so aggregate scores across multiple days so we dont lose the big names should their heat fall in between pulses. When the big names drop, or there is no waves to surf during their heat, so do the viewer numbers, same thing happened when Tiger Woods left the tour for a while…golf was a lot less exciting. (insert boring golf jokes here) I think a golf-like format would help out the women’s contests too. Since they always have to surf the high tide leftovers, they would benefit greatly from aggregate scores over multiple days.

  • Geoff

    [Macro]
    Pre packaged big wave events (Mavs, Chopes, Eddie, ufukkingnameit) would probably have the most potential for mainstream viewership. I don’t think non surfers or even casual fans of competitive surfing have the interest to monitor an asp event for two weeks or the attention span to tune in for multiple hours.

    [Micro, not g. hall]
    I know the logistics of it are very difficult and 13 days is a pretty good window, but jeez, when the waves are pumping I can’t turn the contest off! Other than that, I guess they could get rid of the 2nd 3-man heat. The surfers don’t really have that great of motivation to really risk anything in that round, at least from what I’ve seen (contractually though, I think the events have to run for a certain amount of days or something). Overall, I feel that the broadcasts have improved a lot in the last few years – HD, more camera angles, higher performances. Dropping events like J Bay doesn’t help at all though #nomoneymoproblems

  • The Mousy Anarchist

    The first two paragraphs are great. They rest upon surfing’s native audience, the ones not watching contests. Which is to say the audience doesn’t bother watching surf contests for exactly the reasons stated. Pro surfing is unbearable for any length of time commensurate with a tide’s better time across a break. And it’s untenable. Divine Comedy, as one minor troll once attempted to roll out as a meme before he knew how, what, why or who.

    First, it should point out that competitive “surf fans” are the minority of those watching surf contests. That the majority are optimistic youngsters and their families, followed by industry folks (who comment on surf blogs)… then surf fans. Not only are surf fans statistically irrelevant, they’re demographically irrelevant as well. They’re middle aged (and older) white guys who spend the majority of their time and money on pursuing something that’s still “counter cultural” enough that it’s not completely focused around capitalistic spending idolatory. Meaning, despite the desire of these surf fans to watch surfing live, it’s going to be taken from them because they’re not worthy of the effort involved to make it happen – and they’re the majority that have bought into the delusion that it’s a “sport” and entertainment. The other two primary groups watching are attached to it by aspiration and laboured choice.

    Furthermore, the first two paragraphs put pro surfing loyalists on notice and into defensive mode, whilst notifying humans to read the rest with a smile on their faces.

    Which is the real rub. Surfing involves a lot of genuine smiles. Pro suffering (as Fred Pawle calls it) takes itself way to seriously to feel good about fun, mirth, merriment, ridicule and the realisations that come from being Frank. And they’re all thin skinned, as well.

    The surf media, may the dear Laird forgive them, edit out most of what matters – the ability to talk about the economic and environmental realities of contests. Pro surfing is assumed to be a viable thing in the surf media landscape because they have a vested interest in that being so. Despite reality. The economics of pro surfing are far funnier than even this article, and built on sand that’s shifted, money that’s gone and jet fuel that’s noxious.

    If Zosea fails in its mission… in just about any way, 2015 and beyond is unlikely to have any kind of top tier tour. That’s kind of a big deal for the surf contest parents and kids as it means there’s no top end to the sport worth sacrificing and home schooling their offspring towards. And there’re probably more kids and parents optimistically around surf contests than viewers for top tier surf contests. Seem a little lopsided?

    You won’t find critical analysis, recognition, awareness or even rumor of top tier pro surfing failing. But it just might.

    There is no economic justification for spending a million per event AND paying these guys the kinds of money they’re on AND paying for advertising imagery placement based on results on this tour – that’s the “sleeping giant”. Someone wakes this fellow up and the whole thing is going to collapse because transparency for pro surfing leads to the end of pro surfing’s top tier.

    It’s a fucking house of cards, built on sand. The rotten mouthed one might have alluded to this allegorically some time ago.

    So rather than pro surfing being about locations, conditions and contestants, it’s actually about persistent denial and constant reinforcement of the delusion; which was fine when the surf brands could buoy it up.

    There are ways to create pro surfing related entertainment that’s economically feasible, but it doesn’t look much like a surf contest as we know them today. That’s not stopping Zosea from heading out into the corporate marketplace with a tired iteration of a 1977 idea that’s long since had its day. The changing media scape and technology can’t help repackage surfing sufficiently to entertain a wider audience because those things are changing for every form of entertainment.

    Instagram doesn’t sell more shirts and shorts.

    Twitter doesn’t engage or create brand loyalty or equity.

    It’s no surprise that the rise and rise of social media has coincided with the fall and fall of pro surfing’s delusions. But it’s nowhere near done.

    By necessity, Zosea is going to be pitching surf contest sponsorship participation to outside industries and brands on the basis of Zosea’s and pro surfing’s potential. How many board room level, cheque writing executives do you think are going to be deceived out of the millions to fund, continuously, something as utterly incapable of defining ROI as the pro surfing sideshow?

    Sure, each event has had token little sponsor spots they’ve “sold” to recognisable brands outside of surfing, but those are “logo graveyard” spots sold for peanuts or relationships and nearly always have lead to disillusionment within that brand after the experience. Very few come back for a second round. Which means pro surfing, after 25 years of fucking over the wider industries of the world on the basis of “we’re fucking cool, and we know it” has crafted a singularly horrid reputation for the “sport”.

    Getting Title Sponsor levels of money out of astute marketing managers from non-aligned and genuinely competitive industries is going to require more than a pitch of “here’s our potential… and it’s SURFING, so you know… it’s cool, dude!” But I’m not sure that Zosea has much more than that, and the bald headed one, to offer.

  • sean

    For starters get rid of stupid rules like the one where Slater, with priority at Kirra recently, shoulder-hopped Parko who had taken off deep and way down the line. Behavior that might get one punched in the real world was instead he was rewarded with another victory. Many surfers are not enough of a prick to do what it takes to win. Thus the tour loses Dane who cannot play by these rules. Simpo plays on but doesn’t stand a chance. Let the judges make the interference calls as they see fit.

  • jimmy from Goldy

    as a SURFER, i only watch the stupid contests if
    a: i’m bored at work
    b: there’s no surf
    c: if its a completely pumping like fiji last year.

    otherwise it’s a boring monotonous scrap heap fight of rolling commentary dribble. I hit the mute button more often than not, and crank some music. Oh and those fucking boardshort ads are so fucking annoying, they make angry enough, that i might start making my own boardies in revolt of the marketing bullshit we’re fed every 2 minutes and before and after replays.

    Also the new “modern age” of surfing where the kids pump down the line as fast as they can, in order to pull off some twirly thing at the end, is absolute bullshit. They’re all going to blow they’re knee’s.

    ps: i’d rather watch the girls at the moment too.

  • http://waves.com waves

    I’d just say focus on the waves and the surfing more.

    They could choose much better locations. Bali, Sumatra, Morocco, Mexico, Jbay, Pacific Islands etc..

    After that the camera/broadcasting is most important and has really improved. More water shots would be cool.

    At least with the current commentators, they rotate them so it keeps it interesting.

    if you try to package it as entertainment for mass consumption, and maximum revenue, you will probably turn of the core. Then good luck to you if next weeks fashion changes.

    Most sports have now become completely commercialised, and have little connection with those that do the sport. I find that sad.

  • Steve Nug

    The author of this piece obviously has no idea what he is taking about and is a major kook. What…what?

    Next time I shall tackle a less controversial topic…like gun control or double grabs.

  • Dave Keagy

    Well meaning, but much like surf commentary, a little exaggerated and littered in hyperbole. At the end of the day, this is real time footage of people sitting in the ocean waiting for waves; then standing up for seconds at a time. Not much one can do to that. It’s like people who complain that baseball is boring. You either get it and like it or you don’t. Adding 3D Gopro G-string cams is not going to change that. There are edited packaged surf videos and there are contest; in real time. It’s two different things. My advice to the writer, watch the highlights at the end of each day.

    New Fans: Need to define this, I don’t think the masses of Hollister wearing folks out there will ever care about an ASP contest, let’s be frank. New fans means more of the active surfing population watching? Seems to me each year the numbers grow? Idea for article Surfer?

    Commentary Is is a work in progress, getting better, but does need help, agreed. There are some terms and remarks like “best heat ever” that get thrown around too much. There is needs to be some consistency for all contest in personal and styles. And stop plugging the boards that Al Merrick used to shape for.

    Three man heats. Round one, if at all, but I do agree that their time might be done. I still feel strongly that there still needs to be a consolation after round 3, could add drama and wildcard / second chance scenario. One or two R4 heats (from each side of the draw) with surfers who went down in round 3 who lost out in close heats or scored high and still lost. This would give guys who were gaining some momentum or had a bad break to stay in. These geats could add drama, but eliminates a whole round of heats. The only problem is that we’d see Kai Otton and Dane Gudang in these heat every contest.

    Presentation: Sure, creativity could be pushed, but it’s not like they aint trying, his year we saw cable cams, go pros in Hawaii. Not sure what else this guy wants? Shower cams? I do agree, no interviews while people are surfing. Could be timed better. But again, it’s nature.

    One last thing is I have thought that they could run at least one contest with a slightly different format, like a skins style to mix it up. At a beach break contest? At the end of the day, I for one am looking forward to watching the next contest. Rio is not my highlight contest, but I’m ready to see what is the new “best heat ever”.

  • ceego

    Who wrote this? Yes there could be improvements, as has slowly been happening since webcasts began. Surfing isn’t football! We can’t control when waves come….Any real fan off the sport I know is glued to their screen for days when each WCT is on. Non surfers are never going to watch so why even bother with a package that suits them??

  • kyle

    I agree with Steve Nug down there, this guy is a total kook.

  • duder

    how about everybody MUST shape they’re own boards? at least for 1 event. and yes, we are getting sick of the air ballet shit.

  • Jones

    Can’t even give away a surf mag prescription. Not enough fans more like. Those who are just happen to aspire to surf. Getting to the contest is a challenge. Your are not kidding on the “commentary” they seem to be stressed for something cool to say. I think admitting the negatives actually would spice up the contest, like “that wave sucked”. Ever since year 2000 did the number of contests go up 10 times, I think we’re being hyped and those people are here now to make comment and save face. By year 2002 did the bottom 1/3 class drop out of surfing forever. The gas price went up, they lived inland a bit. Thus the price of surfing went up three times like everything else by the next few years. It goes to less people for more money but it went to the children who live on the coast ie spoiled little brats. Don’t spoil your kids, oh well, go ahead and spoil them after all. This is your target market, youngsters who think that surfing is cool. but low and behold when Oceanside gets it’s million dollar park all of a suddenly 95% of the surfers will be skating. Thus we don’t really get what WE want until that park is built and someone fixes up the lousy SoCal waves to be more like Bali. Trying to pretend that some little kid having fun equates to me having fun so long as I work hard at it is a lie. They are rich little brats

  • Stu

    Just call it a race – first to the beach wins.

    Simple.

    You Americans make everything so complex.

  • http://dylansilver.com Dylan

    I am very impressed with the development of professional surfing. I’m happy that it’s available (for free) to anyone who cares to watch. Though they’re not exactly poetic, I think the announcers, as goofy as they can be, do a pretty good job of analyzing the competition. Sure, there’s a ton of logos and marketing. But what professional sport is devoid of that? I think the format is fine— and fair.

  • brandon

    This guy is an idiot. Period.

    Dear surfermag.com,

    If you’re going to actually post commentary submitted by someone who is a functioning retard, how about you just do us all a favor and forward everyone to stabmag.com when they click on your web address.

  • http://www.youtube.com/rodneypaige rpaige

    …get rid of “Professional” surfing…get back to the basics of enjoying the waves and the natural beauty of God’s creation. Personally I would be happy to see all the money and hype spent on all these pretty boy “Athletes” go for something more useful and helpful in the world, like feeding the poor or stopping the wars. I grew up in the 50′s and sixties when surfing was more of a great adventure of fun and enlightenment than a “Sport”……why does everything have to be a competition, or a way to make a bunch of money, or glorify some 10 second tube ride and the dude that did it. God knows there are too many surfers out there in places like California, where you can’t even find a parking place without a heavy parking fee, and don’t even get me started about the lineup, and the possibility of catching a wave that isn’t overpopulated by a bunch of aggro shoulder hopping “Pro” surfers !… and all this commercialization of the “Sport” has been the major cause of it all if you ask me….thanks Gidget! ….what ever happened to the Soul of Surfing?

  • Steve

    This guy is a total muppet. Seriously, Kai Neville designing the webcast? Aside from the fact that he has no interest in competition how the hell is he meant to incorporate his skills in a webcast. Put some fruit wearing robot up everytime someone scores a 10? And 3 man heats are good, who wants to see guys like Julian resorting to cutties in order to safely advance thorugh, I want to see guys going for it with airs and stuff. If you want to make surfing more attractive reward airs and progressive surfing more. Nothing makes me more bored when I turn on the web cast and see two boring surfers on, such as Kai Otton vs Tiago Pires, maybe with a more progressive criteria these guys will be replaced by more exiting surfers on the tour

  • G

    I do not agree with everything ever. However I do agree with some of the “lack of financial feasibility” comments from Mr. Anarchist. By the same token I see Biotech, telecoms, airlines and governments go for years never getting in the black.
    Live or die, neither would surprise me. In the words of John Lennon “imagine there’s no pro surfing. It’s easy if you try.”

  • http://www.michaelyankaus.com Mik

    You lost me with the opening line claiming that “contest surfing is so ugly”.

    I dont know what contest surfing you are referring to, because the surfing in the WCT is the highest level there is, in that size of surf. And it’s the best it has ever been as well. The WCT pros today would blow out any previous generation, period. If that isn’t exciting to you, then you need to look at where you are as a surfer.

    The only improvement really needed is consistently fair judging — and focusing on wave location more than on in-person audience attendance. The online webcasts are rad. Improve that a bit in terms of speed and service. Otherwise, I suspect that most of us are flat-out stoked with the format. From top to bottom.

    In other words, Zosea:

    Don’t come in and beer-can-advertising-marketeer/corporate it up…

    Don’t fucking impose the NFL/MLB/NBA broadcast structure on a super hip surf party…

    We are an insular tribe, and we want to keep it that way.

  • tony (ty) carson big isalnd

    Hey steve, seems like you hit a nerve ,some blogs get zero comments, this one has got plenty in just a day and a half.. Seems like this scheme might be doomed from the beginning though, these guys are so out of touch that they come up with a lame name like ZoSea -(Zoo-Sea). Hey, just thought of it, thanks partly to pro surfing , it does seem like a ‘zoo at sea’ sometimes . Maybe it was a Freudian slip on their part .Their name almost dooms them from the beginning. Surfing is beautiful, cool,- its not the contests that are ugly so much- (ITS THE COMPETITION -AND YOU CAN NEVER CHANGE THAT – NO MATTER WHAT FORMAT YOU PUT IT IN ). Real surfing has never been about competition. Surfing is about catching waves, feeling the salt water and the sand beneath your feet, the sunsets, and all the other good vibes that go with it- and you can never package that . But I believe what also dooms them partly is, most really hard core surfers- would rather be catching waves themselves- than watching some over payed ‘so called pro’ surf. Just remember-THE BEST WAVES EVER RIDDEN ON THE PLANET, BY A “SO CALLED PRO” OR ANYONE- WILL ALWAYS BE THE WAVES YOU RIDE YOURSELF. Maybe Phil Edwards had it right over 40 years ago, when they asked him who the best surfer in the water was, his reply was- “THE GUY HAVING THE MOST FUN”.

  • Jason M

    The tired, soul surfer, contests-are-evil message that the mags have been ramming down my throat for the last 30 years is lamer than the over-coverage of paint-by-the-numbers sponsor surf trips and more embarrassing than the constant spin or outright cover up of anything that sheds the bros in a bad light.
    I’ve been a big fan of ASP pro surfing since the mid 80′s. While there are certainly some things that could be improved (like the overuse of certain Australian sayings like “Over the moon”), pro surfing has never been in a better place. Back at the beginning, I had to wait over a month just to find out the written results of most contests in a magazine. We got to see two or three of the contests on tv, and that was months after the fact and in a drastically shortened/edited form. In 2013, I can watch every minute of every event, and I love it! The writer is obviously trying to get a polar response by writing so harshly on this topic, and it seems to have worked.

  • Max

    When a mega swell next hits a WTC event like Fiji 2012 or Chopes we can run a no holds barred WTC vs the BIG wave legends Dorian, Greg Long, Garret etc and triple the WTC points to get all the boys scratching into air drops for the filthiest mega pits.

    Imagine watching the set of the day at Fiji 2012 that Greg Long and Peter Mel pushed through and see 4 points starved WTC gladiators turn and stroke into a vertical acid drop for a 35 foot barrel. CJ and Taylor Knox fist pump making the air-drop while two teenage rookie arial specialists dig a rail and get totally obliterated.

    Thats right kid your air game won’t buy you shit in the WTC gladiator rounds that makes the UFC look like a Barbie video. 50,000 WTC points for the best ride, air-drop, switch-foot, barrel, and wipeout, 100,000 if you fade Garret. Its all filmed in hi-def and Slater and Occy on commentary. Adrenalin, broken boards, blood, guts, death or glory – the surfers know what the public want. Bring on the masses..

  • JoeP

    I’m guessing the guy who wrote this article is just trolling? If so, great job. If not, well, if you really can’t stand watching an ASP event online for more than 30 minutes, then no amount of changes are going to make you like it. Personally, I love watching the contests. The best in the world, straight from Fiji to my iPad on the deck with a pint? Yes, please.

  • GBD

    I agree with Joe P and Mik. From around the world to my computer (and beer) for free – awesome – And I love the boys commentating (Occy, etc.) Let’s keep it real… Hey, it’s not perfect, but I am still blown away to be in on the action live when it’s pumping on the other side of the world.

  • Tim Rusch

    The commentary is the main reason I prefer to watch the event live rather than use the heat analyzer at my convenience.

  • stephen

    I too am shocked that events run by and starring surfers aren’t more efficient, eloquently commentated and broadly appealing
    and I’m similarly outraged that my dog won’t meow.

  • Todd

    I agree with everything said here. A nice opinion post. But I’ll give Kelly Slater 3rd in the announcer rankings. Anytime Alex Gray and Dave Wassel are given the mic it is pure win. Of course their appearances are rare, either during the Triple Crown or at big swells like Cloudbreak last year. I full agree with a better webcast stream. The inconsistency ruins any viewing attempts. Especially when trying to catch heats at late hours due to time change etc.

  • mike

    some valid points….yes the commentators could be better…go pros are always a good idea(cant hurt)…people who dont surf are never gonna watch….90 percent of ppl who watch football actually play it, but im sure they did as a child growing up…unless you live on the coast you will never have those experiences…the 3 man heats are good sometimes because you actually get to see more SURFING….this is not tennis ppl…the best surfer often loses because of lack of opportunity….we cant control the waves so we might as well make as much opportunity for the best surfers to get some nuggets…!!!…

  • george

    its great that surfer actually posted something written by a fan!!!

    but i think its important to note that this guy does not speak for all of us.

    First, i think that two no losers rounds is actually essential to overcome the natural variability inherent in wave quality. It is often one of the first things that non surfers ask when watching a contest….’ what happens if no waves come’. By having two no losers rounds you basically compensate for potentially wave starved heats. In fact almost every alternative contest format attempts to do this by not having losers rounds but points accumulation throughout the contest. But we want blood so we need elimination rounds….

    commentators: most real atheletes cant stand commentators, does not matter what sport. espn knew this which is why they have so many former pro commentators. surfers all think theyre real atheletes hence they cant stand the commentators. but take a closer listen to an average nba of nfl game…..those dudes say some pretty ridiculous stuff too. Yes, the commentating could be different, yes we need more kelly’s… but there are plenty of pete mel’s out there…and like the author said with a little training they could be better……this is hardly a mission critical issue i cant beleive people spend so much time talking about this can we please move on to more substantive issues JESUS CHRIST ALREADY!!!

    and go pros, gps’ or any other gimmick is not gonna make the presentation better. we are fucked cause on our court the basket may bne there or it may not. there is no way around this besides recorded and edited broadcasting. Or we can tweak tweaking things like with overlapping heats. these are epic becuase there are actually waves ridden for the the majority of the heat. also good cause longer heats which in turn have better chances at more waves…if you, as a viewer, as a surfer, cant understand who is in which heat its cuase you are an idiot. four colors for names, you have to remember 8 things maximum….get with the program

  • jimmy from Goldy

    having a live stream from competitors boards, on the nose AND on the tail, would be soo sick.
    the pro’s would whinge about it of course, but there would be some awesome shots.
    Imagine if it were like the final a few years ago at pipe with parko, and you get to watch his face paddling in to a big monster !

  • http://maximoootom.tumblr.com Max Tom

    Steve Nug is a complete idiot. What a waste of time.

    Professional surfing is doing the best it can and the webcasts are awesome spectacles for competitive surfing fans. Besides Kelly Slater, who does a wonderful job as commentator, we get to listen to Shaun Tomson, Martin Potter, Brad Gerlach, Pete Townend, all literal surfing legends, among many distinguished others, talk you through a heat. Listen carefully Steve Nug. It’s like having a World Champion give you a personal surf lesson every single heat. Brad Gerlach during the 2012 Santa Cruz O’Neill Coldwater Classic was like listening to a mystical surf kung fu master revealing his secrets.

    Competitive surfing as a spectator sport is more difficult to decipher than girls gymnastics or synchronized swimming. Who’s to say one top turn is better than another? Yet we must split those hairs every heat, every contest, every year to determine a Champion. The judging is not perfect but the progressive criteria has improved over the years. Last year’s title race was a nail biter to the last heat. I hope the change at the ASP will improve competitive surfing for all to enjoy. Time will tell.

  • Lee

    I personally like the way the contests are at the moment. A lot of skilled people behind the scenes are putting in the effort and it shows. The commentators are mixed but overall I like the job they do. If there was one particular flaw it’s the interviews/ads during scoring waves. But no doubt that’s being addressed. I don’t have to pay a cent so I can’t really see an reason to complain.

    I think the only way to ‘fix the problem’ with pro surfing is to remove the nature element, or remove the “luck factor”. We need wave pools as soon as possible. Wave pools will be the only way fairly judge the skill of two surfers going head to head on waves that are exactly the same. Those same waves could be bending, twisting, growing, dropping, barrelling and the opening up on the face, offering every opportunity to see what a well rounded surfer is capable of. We’d all know exactly when the wave was due. And when it would end. Three waves each. Highest score wins. Throw in ads between waves. No waiting around. No lulls. Everyone wins except the surfer who comes second in his heat.

  • David

    Incredible article. Couldn’t agree more. I’ve got a few suggestions too.

    Feed quality.
    Why can’t we get a higher resolution stream? I understand that it is probably impossible in Fiji or Tahiti, but what about SoCal and Gold Coast? I should be able to stream that in 720 no problem. And what is with the sun reflecting off the water? Use a different camera angle or use a polarizer to block at least some of it.

    Better heat recaps.
    If we can’t get a reliable HD stream live, can we at least get that for the heat recaps? This should be feasible even for the remote locations since the files just have to be moved once to a server with a better connection. And why do I have to click through each heat and click on every wave that I want to see? Instead of labeling and linking every wave ridden, just put together a clip with every wave of the day broken down by heat. That would garner far more views and be the same amount of work. And don’t just give me clips of the live commentary to go with it – who cares? Sum it up Sportscenter style.

    What time is it on?
    The Rio Pro waiting period starts in 4.5 hours. The most helpful information the official webpage has to offer about me being able to watch live professional surfing tomorrow is “First call at 6:30am”. I’m on a computer – why do I have to go somewhere else to look up the time zone difference to see what time that is for me? Can’t you detect my IP and get a location or something? Also, what is the likelihood that somebody will actually surf after “First call”? Why is there no news about the predicted swell and the likelihood of surfing happening each day? Do the work for me!

  • tony (ty) carson big isalnd

    Hey, lets really rattle the cage, has any one googled -( “The seven levels of surfers”)- and read that.. This will really get some people mad. Don’t look at me, I didn’t write it, just stumbled on it one day while surfing the web..

  • tony (ty) carson big isalnd

    To be more specific, as there are some watered down versions of this out there – google- ( “The seven levels of surfers-ken rockwell” ). Just putting this out there as some food for thought.. Once again, don’t look at me, I didn’t write it.. Just stumbled on it one day while surfing the web. Peace…

  • Kevin Kuzma

    The problem with pro surfing is that it is set up for the pro surfer not the viewer. Watch the Lowers contest for example. A set comes in that has 4 waves and that is 8 rides possible, and if everything goes well on 2 of those potential waves are ridden. You said no more than 2 minutes of a 30 minute heat has ridden waves. That is what needs to change. They need to be able to run a contest in 2 days, when the the waves are best. This is my proposal for exciting surfing to be watched. Day one 4 hours of surfing. 4 one hour heats with the top 4 surfers in each heat advance. That would be exciting. People love Taladega because there are so many drivers so close that they end up bumping and fighting a scratching and clawing and crashing. Great drama. That is what 8 man heats would cause. Day 2, that last 16 guys have there two 8 man semi final heats the top 4 from each heat advance to the final. Take and hour break for an expression session for the eliminated pros to show there best turn, air, tube or whatever suits the venue. Then bring back the top 8 for a one hour final. This might not be an ideal set up for the pros who want to surf pipe with one other guy, but you would sure have drama. Imagine a final with Kelly, Mick, Joel, Gabriel, John John, Josh, Julian, and Adriano, battling it out for glory. I bet lots of people would want to see that. I sure would.

  • Gabriel Cisneros

    First of all, I am a surfer – for the last 35 years. I would have definitely agreed with your comments about the boredom of viewing contests up until about the last two years which is when I started to view events online. First of all, live is better which means being committed to watch well past midnight when Fiji or Tahiti are going off. Having said that, ‘Heats on Demand’ is fantastic. Even the Daily Rap is great to get a feel for whether you want to watch specific heats in any greater detail. If it is a crap day – which will still happen – you don’t have to go beyond the highlights.

    Second, I’m not going to claim that 100% of the commentators are fun to listen to, but a good 80% are. It’s great that surfers are doing it and getting better. The play by play manouver stuff can be repetetive but every now and again I hear something about wave selection or “getting in the groove” that really hits a chord with me. Do the surfers need to all be heros? No, but we can’t forget the symbiosis between sponsors and a 3 million dollar event. Most people prefer a good spin.

    As for camera work, there is nothing like post production and massive amounts of film to make a bunch of surf moments look great. Contests don’t have that luxury. With what they can package in terms of replays and water angles in real-time, I think it looks amazing compared to 10 years ago. I would say that if you want to get new viewers involved you need back-story. If you know the Slater / Parko rivalry then you can forgive Pipeline for not producing a massive final because there is tension in the air.

    And while I do agree that more dependable streaming would be great, I don’t think that that issue is necessarily in the hands of the contest tech. The times that I have been able to get a good connection and feed it through a big screen at a decent hour, there was always some interest from non sufing family and friends. I feel like surfing today is better to watch than say the Winter Olympics which are massively packaged for the home audience. At least in surf contests there is still the respect of broadcasting every heat – even if conditions suck. The interviews – if they keep a small box in a corner of the screen of the action – are fine.

    Sports events – like Wimbleton or the Superbowl – are appointments in time when you can invite your friends over or meet at the Pub. Until they build the super-surf-pool that can compare with Pipe and you can set your clock to the start of the Final, I don’t think that people completely uninterested in surfing will tune in. My experience with sports that I never watch – and then do – is that suddenly I see a Michael Jordan or a Rafa Nadal and I get it. Slater has done a lot of that heavy lifting – the record, the style, the chicks dig him, etc. That is what is going to keep people involved. Cool stories and more massive Cloudbreak.

  • Ignacio

    wow. great point on the three-man heat. I hadn’t even realized it but I always skip watching them cuz there’s really no point. and it DOES mutilate the momentum

  • Kurt Page

    A main reason for three-man heats in Round 4 is to whittle 12 surfers down to 8 for the quarters. No other way to do it really.

  • http://www.christianenns.com Enzo

    Aloha and nice piece of writing, I agree with most all your points, more drama please is the bottom line, we are not used to the slow mo old school anymore. I want to hear these guys when they are surfing too, they seem so political when interviewed, where’s Davo for christ sakes. Let get some shit talking and some real heated battles, maybe some actors to play the surfers. Loose the sailor and his stupid hat, lame interviews, who pays that guy?
    Get a dragonfly camera that swirls around and copters all the action, underwater cameras, divers, lights, night events, live events at secret spots, exploit and explore but give us our blood and guts or we will wander.
    GPS locators with lcd screens for tow surfers to know where everyone is, a bouy that tells your watch when the waves are coming, a survival suit aka michelin man with air and a neck brace, redbull events where they surf the un-surfable and have serious carnage but survive using new inventions, a show that really puts all this training to the test, so much coaches and trainers they should just agree everyone is in shape, enough with the training camp, let’s see em up against other athletes.

  • http://surfermag.com Gustavo

    the problem is not only the quality of the webcasts, its the lack of character in surfing.

    on the one hand we are screaming for professionalism from the companies running the contests but
    we want more passion from the surfers. 2011 was a great year for the asp, pumping tahiti and a surfer
    like davo on tour to liven things up!

    The commentators are also usually awful, please fire joe turpel! who is this guy? its always the same ass
    kissing story. bring occy, davo and wardo in. genuine people and surfers.

    surfers like mason ho and wardo back on tour please because now even the interviews are boring and usually
    make you miss the little action there is during the heat. thankfully volcom has picked up fiji! so we can see the top 32 charging!

  • jj123

    I agree – that guy in the captain’s hat (Billabong events, i think?) has to go – he is not very cool – kind of skeeves me out.

  • Surfjunkie

    This article is already outdated…. the transfer of ownership of media rights and broadcasting through one entity will unify the commentary and presentation.

    No other sport deals with the infrastructure issues associated with surfing broadcasts, let alone provides the content for free.

    Specific ideas would be appreciated more than generic platitudes (i.e., how to attract non-surfing fans when a large percentage of time is spent staring at the horizon).

  • Doug-o

    1) 4 Man Heats – top 2 move on. Period. All the way thru the finals. Will speed up contest immensely. No one wants to watch a sporting event that takes 3 days to complete.
    2) No Priority – any surfer knows the real competition is catching waves. The priority system has taken this critical element out. Bring back the paddle battle!
    3) Aussies out of the booth! Until these guys can speak English – like pronouncing an “a” that sounds like an “a” instead of an “i” – and can quit sticking an “o” at the end of everybody’s name (Dave-o, Simpo, Ando… I could puke-o!) as if it was clever, just shut the f-o up-o!

  • Central Coast Demon

    Dem dudes over at the inertia have been writing about this forever now…and they’re all just starving, opinionated hacks:

    http://www.theinertia.com/business-media/of-mics-and-men-asp-webcast-commentary-and-a-new-age-of-surf-broadcasting/

  • CaliD

    a suggestion: back up from the computer screen, it’s frying your brain. i follow pro surfing even though i have zero ambition to surf competitively, i understand it sucks to listen to some dudes try to fill 8 hours of webcast time, and the ads, and the stream interruptions. but honestly, watching the mush sets cruise by…being able to follow an entire heat…watching how the best in the sport handle situations not only with the water but with competition (a reality of any surf session with others out, you want to tell me you don’t feel like you can do better when you see someone rip the sh#$ out of a wave…or engaging some barney in a paddle battle when you are obviously up for the next one?) has made my surfing way better. i’m grateful for the way they’ve been doing things, go with the flow. you suggest letting surf videographers take the reins? dude, i learn so little from surf videos, most of them are like Michael Bay’s wet dreams, ADHD editing, and no sense of the waves before or after, positioning in the lineup, just cut to barrel, cut to air, barrel, air air air, wipeout, tow, air, progressive air to set up the title screen. please, fucking kill me if this becomes the only way to consume the competitive side of our sport. if you’re so chapped about having to sit through the doldrums, how about you spend the day with your family or walking your fat dog and watch the highlights afterhours. they’ve had this things called heat analyzer, check it out. *begin sarcasm* or maybe we should just turn the crap into an NFL game, mic the sh*t out of it. heart rate monitors, GPS, madden-esque we could even have the women’s top 17 as cheerleaders cause, even though they deserve to be showcased for their commitment and talent (anyone see the Bells final? lakey peterson v. taylor wright? anyone?)they don’t appeal to a large enough fan base because they don’t have a video showing 300 aerials in 2 minutes. *end sarcasm* wow, long angry message. sorry. but don’t mess with my surf. ;-)

  • Mikey

    Don’t really have a solution to the overall format but here’s a thought: I’m sure everyone has seen the #tournotes from Hurley, (if you haven’t go watch the newest Simpo one) so why doesn’t the company, or now ZoSea, make more of an effort to provide behind the scenes footage. Yes, most of the event sponsors post little interviews and on rare occasion crappy lay day footage. But the issue is just that, its crap. Why not just give a few competitors camera’s to document what goes on in the contest lodge, at the sponsor houses, and the activities on lay day? Hurley has done a great job so far, but why haven’t other companies caught on? It’s so simple, they literally have to do no work, just lest John John or Kelly to carry a camera around…hell who wouldn’t want to see that? Again, it’s not a solution to the overall issue of the contest format, but something that could make more people follow, if they know what goes on behind the scenes, and get to know the competitors a little better.

  • http://jakemoorephotography.blogspot.co.uk/ Jake Moore

    Awesome

  • Kevin Scott

    Excellent article, I can’t stomach these so called announcers with the Mics anymore. Never thought I’d be looking for Stanfield…..

  • Crhis Fauxte

    8 hours in the water, twice. Eliminate half the first day, and then rank the rest the next day. Lowest 1/4 of the guys on day 1 are done for the year. Repeat at each spot, including a few big-waves spots. No wildcards or Hawaiian local invites either.

    Oh, if anyone needs proof that the industry needs to cut a majority of its insiders off the pro-tour hang-low, just read the post here by guys saying everything is fine or calling Steve a clown. Put another way “shhhh, the job where I don’t really do anything is at risk if we change things, bro….”

  • http://N/A Peter “PT” Townend

    Brilliant commentary! Way to call it the way it is, PRO SURFING needs an over-haul and I’ve been there since the beginning!

  • Don Redondo

    I want to punch Chris Cote in da throat and den slam a Buckhorn beer. Get Stanfield and Peter Mel in da booth already

  • R “RH” H

    This “article” was as useless as the commentary at the Volcom Pro… a contest that eventually managed to be fairly epic nonetheless. Then again, I watched the Portuguese stream because the English was lagging… so maybe those kooks could have seriously detracted from it… but the bottom line is, it was a lot more fun watching someone with talent fly through medium sized tubes on a four fin that it is to watch the big wave dorks ride their longboards at Cloudbreak, or circumvent the drop by towing in at the end of the road. I’m afraid that the WCT’s own version of safety-boards are going to be a bore at Keramas, though… but maybe someone without an anchor can pull a some-carve/some-air 720 there without his lame ass falling down at the end, if he is megalomaniacal enough because he is in a contest.

  • Steve Wimer

    Pro Surfing needs a contest at Skeleton Bay. It’s the best wave I’ve ever seen.

  • SURF TRAMP

    TURPLE… VOICE SUCKS!

    GET RID OF TURPLE!

    HIS VOICE IS SHITE

    DOES HE EVEN SURF?

    is he really a surfer?
    really ? cruising the north shore in rental sports cars…is this hollywood? (why not next time put babes on his arms as he makes a red carpet entrance) last time i checked its Country… and Turpel is not the Star~ THE NORTH SHORE IS! and… all the pros who live there! and travel to the North Shore to do battle in Serious Waves.

    GT… Massacres his interviews and says weird cr@p it leaves the Surfers and Audience feeling uncomfortable

    please use ex-pros for Industry Jobs it lends more credibility to our sport Lifestyle
    Get The Fakes Kooks And Hanger-ons …OUT!!!
    Aloha